Plan would beautify the Crosstown

Charleston received a $10 Million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for improvements to the Septima Clark Parkway, also known as the Crosstown.

Brad Nettles

Nikki Haley has an amazing amount of self-confidence, but she obviously hasn't got an ounce of shame.

On Sunday, The Post and Courier ran Robert Behre's recent Q&A with the governor. His first question was pretty simple: What grade would you give yourself as far as tackling jobs and the economy?

Haley said, "I learned early on don't give grades because you never win when you give grades."

Really. Does October count as "early on?" Because just four months ago, the governor paraded around the state -- at undetermined cost to taxpayers -- handing out some pretty stinging grade cards for state lawmakers.

At the time, it seemed like an immature way to settle scores. After all, she used a few select votes to give Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell -- perhaps the most powerful lawmaker in the state, not to mention a key supporter of her government restructuring bill -- a big fat "D."

This came a few months after the master parliamentarian had taken Haley to the Supreme Court woodshed for trying to overstep her gubernatorial powers.

But surely that was just a coincidence.

Double standard?

Former gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Larry Grooms, another Lowcountry Republican who brought home a "D" on his grade card, correctly called this a stunt before Haley pulled it.

"Even in the campaign, I thought it was fine for special-interest groups to put our report cards on their issues," Grooms said. "But for the chief executive of the state to give out grades, I thought it belittled the office."

Haley has shown remarkable talent for that. First, she promised to cut government spending but then paid her young staff more than Gov. Mark Sanford paid his. Then she took more than two dozen people to Paris for an air show that was of questionable economic-development value.

Most recently, she put Georgia ports ahead of South Carolina's biggest industry -- and its rivers.

And she expended her staff's energy putting together report cards for lawmakers. But she's learned her lesson.

"I'm glad to see she's not going to give out grades anymore," Grooms said. "Wait, was she talking about the Legislature or just herself?"

That's the question.

'A' for effort?

When Haley put out her report cards, Democrats responded with their own grades for the governor. The difference, as they reciprocated with a litany of failing grades for her, was that they admitted it was a stunt.

Stephen Colbert must be jealous. On TV, he plays a satirical version of a blowhard talk show host. But Haley has taken the art to a new level, governing as bad satire. And she does it with complete poise and a straight face.

While Haley deserves an "F" in such subjects as protecting the state's interest, transparency and humility, it's not all bad on Haley's grade card. She brought the Legislature together -- they voted unanimously to stop her Savannah River sellout.

And, of course, she deserves an "A+" in hypocrisy.

Follow Brian Hicks on Twitter at @BriHicks_PandC.